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Campaigners walk round beauty spot targeted for development

PUBLISHED: 21:16 22 July 2019 | UPDATED: 13:02 23 July 2019

The protesters gather at Mill Mount Field Picture: MARK LANGFORD

The protesters gather at Mill Mount Field Picture: MARK LANGFORD

Archant

Residents fighting controversial proposals to build more than 100 homes on the edge of Stowmarket have held a protest walk on the eve of a public inquiry.

Members of Save Mill Mount Field on the walk around the proposed development site Picture: MARK LANGFORDMembers of Save Mill Mount Field on the walk around the proposed development site Picture: MARK LANGFORD

More than 20 supporters walked around Mill Mount Field at Combs on Monday evening to highlight what would be lost if the outline scheme by Gladman Homes for up to 160 houses went through.

The plan was rejected by planners last September but Gladman's appeal is to be studied at a public inquiry that began on Tuesday at Stowmarket scout headquarters in Milton Road North, Stowmarket.

Des Shelley, the chairman of the Save Mill Mount Field (SMMF) group, said more than 1,000 people from adjoining areas to Combs, including Battisford and Little Finborough, had signed the petition objecting to the proposal which would be presented to the inquiry.

"That support demonstrates that the impact of this scheme would not just be confined to area of Combs, but also some way beyond the development site," she said.

Mill Mount Field at Combs Picture: MARK LANGFORDMill Mount Field at Combs Picture: MARK LANGFORD

"The traffic it will generate and the pressure on already over-stretched healthcare and schools, all show that this scheme is manifestly unsuitable and inappropriate.

"We are not planning or policy experts, but we do know our local area and we will continue to oppose the impact this development will have on those who live here now and in the future."

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Sara Waterer of SMMF added the impact on the visual environment of Combs would be "catastrophic".

Des Shelley of Save Mill Mount Field Picture: MARK LANGFORDDes Shelley of Save Mill Mount Field Picture: MARK LANGFORD

"The landscape and tranquility of Mill Mount Field is particularly valued by local people," she said.

Gladman failed to get the application to build 160 homes at the location past Mid Suffolk District Council's planning committee last September.

Concerns raised in the objections include the impact on the landscape and the Grade I listed Church of St Mary and the effect it would have on local roads.

The site can only be reached by Poplar Hill, a narrow road.

Sara Waterer of Save Mill Mount Field Picture: MARK LANGFORDSara Waterer of Save Mill Mount Field Picture: MARK LANGFORD

There are also concerns the development would reduce the separation between Stowmarket and Combs.

SMMF member Ian Clarke, of SMMF said: "The two settlements would inevitably coalesce and Combs would just be swallowed up by Stowmarket."

The public inquiry is scheduled to last eight days.

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